Glenveagh Castle and National Park – this National Park is located 24 km northwest of Letterkenny and can be reached through the villages of Kilmacrennan or Churchill. Directions from Letterkenny via N56 via Kilmacrennan, turn left into Gweedore R255 or alternatively through Churchill and next to Gartan and Akibbon R251 lakes.
This estate was created in 1857 – 1859, and the castle itself was built by the captain John Georg Adair, a wealthy land speculator in 1870 – 1873, and was designed by his cousin John Townsend Trench, who was inspired by the Victorian idyll of romantic mountain seclusion.
John never finished his dream of creating a hunting property because he died suddenly in 1885 after returning from a business trip to America. After his death, his wife, Kornelia took over the family estate and constantly strived to improve its comfort and expand his gardens. After her death in London in 1921, the estate fell considerably .
The next owner of the estate was Arthur Kingsley Porter from Harvard University who bought it in 1929, he came to Ireland to study Irish archeology and culture, but unfortunately he mysteriously disappear from Inishbofin in 1933.
The last private owner of the castle was Henry McIlhenny from Philadelphia, who bought it in 1937, his ancestors came from this area. However Henry stated that traveling to Ireland was too demanding and the maintenance of the estate began to become too burdensome and in 1975 he agreed to sell the property which enabled the creation of the National Park.
Glenveagh National Park was opened to the public in 1984, and the castle in 1986. This park covers about 169 km² of mountains lakes, valleys and forests along with a herd of deer that makes it possible to spend a whole wonderful day with the whole family and that’s why it attracts guests from all over the world.